Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from New Orleans

It's New Years Eve and we are still at the Ponthatrain Landing RV and Marina.  We took the shuttle a couple of times to the French Quarter and even though we were there six hours at a time it seemed to have flown by.  Many of the buildings were built at the time of Spanish rule and are from the 1700's with a lot of history.  One of our first stops was to get a beignet at Cafe Du Monde established in 1862.  Well worth the 45 minute wait in line.  We also had lunch in a building that was built in 1755 that Lafayette would gather his men to plan an escape route.  If only those walls could talk.  Lots of history sometimes overlooked by what we always hear about which is Mardi Gras.  We took the ever present carriage ride with a mule driven carriage.  Our guide was the self proclaimed black Elvis.  The mules name was Beauty.  Of coarse you can't go to New Orleans without having a Hurricane at Pat O'brien's.  Apparently back in the 1940's, because of the war, sugar was in short supply so large imports of rum from the Caribbean would come in and they would have to buy 50 cases of rum to get one case of whiskey.  Pat O'brien's came up with a concoction called the Hurricane to get rid of the rum.

Here at the RV park the sites are full and the overflow flow is going quickly.  Most of the RV's have a Alabama or Oklahoma flag flying because the Sugar Bowl is on Friday at the Super dome.  I think many of them are going to the game or heading to the French Quarter for the New Years Eve party.  We bundled up today and rode our bikes to the grocery store to stock up before we leave.  We were going to leave on Thursday but the weather looks bad so we probably will leave on Friday.  We can't wait to move on and see what else we have to experience.  Jan and I would like to take this time for everyone reading our blog a prosperous, healthy, and wonderful new year.  Happy New Year!

Standing in line for our beignets
French Quarter

St. Louis Cathedral Jackson Square

Now called Jackson Square

Guess who?  Andrew Jackson, of coarse.
Home of the Hurricane
Pour me something tall and strong, make it a hurricane before I go insane.
Look, it's Pat himself.
Oh Oh!

Many of the street entertainment

Too many hurricanes

Riverboat Natchez on the Mississippi

Must be a Southern thing.

Beauty and the black Elvis

Check out the alligator heads

Geico on steroids
Good bye New Orleans

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Houma to New Orleans for Christmas

Well we made it to New Orleans, so here's the story,  We stayed an extra day in Houma because the weather was calling for 40 mph gusts in New Orleans and one thing I don't like is wind.  The next day was suppose to be down to 5 mph and the rain was forecast 80 percent at 4:00pm.  Rain, no problem, bring it on.  We  untied the lines at 6:30am of the 22nd and headed to New Orleans.  We were only 30 minutes out and the rain started to come down.  Then another 30 minutes and it was thunder and lightning and heavy rain all the way. There were times when there was no time between the lightning and thunder.  Now they say not to be on the water with lightning, but where are you going to go?  I figured those tows with the barges would be more susceptible and if they were out here I figured I was okay.  New Orleans was only a 52 mile trip but we had to go through two real locks and under 10 bridges to get to our destination of the Pontchartrain Landing Marina.  One of the things you want to do is have a backup plan in case you can't get thru the locks or open some of the bridges to be where you want to go before it gets dark.  Ours was to stay at the Boontown Casino tie up before we reached the locks, or get permission to stay at the Industrial Lock tie up after we went thru the Harvey Lock into the Mississippi River.   Fortunately we made it all the way before it got dark.  The two locks we went through were our first real locks we've ever experienced.  The first lock was the Harvey Lock which puts us into the Mississippi River.  We were the only boat in the lock and when you come in there are these bollards in the wall of the lock you put a line around down to your boat.  As the water raises or lowers you let out line only to keep your boat against the lock wall.  The rain gear we bought at West Marine before we left came in real handy since it was raining during this whole process.  The second lock is called the Industrial Lock.  It connects the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain.  Pontchartrain Landing is a RV park/marina.  We are the only visiting boat here and they have many amenities such as a pool, hot tub, bar and grill, and convenience store.  They also provide a  shuttle three times a day to the French Quarter.  We plan on going there this weekend.  Today is Christmas so we slept in exchanged gifts and talked on face time to our family.  Chloe got a new tear apart toy and blanket.  We rode our bikes over to the grocery store yesterday and bought a prime rib and sides for our dinner tonight.   Jan and I got to experience our first taste of gumbo and a poo boy sandwich since being here and will post our next experience at the French Quarter.

Boontown Casino
This is for you Dad
Entering the Harvey Lock
New Orleans from the Mississippi
Entering the Industrial Lock
Where we are staying
Rudolph guided us all the way
Panacea in New Orleans
Old Chloe Blanket
New Chloe Blanket
New toy, new blanket, too much fun![
Merry Christmas !

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Skinny Behind the Indian Holding the Fish

Since we stayed an extra day in Houma, LA because of weather we had to pay the guy who comes over from his house to collect the money for the City for an extra day.  I had to ask him what the story was behind the Indian.  The story is that it was created by one of the local artists and was installed at the Memorial Park, down from from where we are at the city docks.  He said there was a small minority (as usual) that complained about the Indians bulge.  So they had the artist shave it down, but that wasn't good enough and they still complained.  So, when they built the city docks, where we are, they moved the Indian from the park and put him in a pool of water to hide his bulge.  Oh by the way, he used to have a spear in the lower hand but someone stole that the first week and then later broke off the tail of the fish and that's the story.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lake Charles to Houma, LA

We had a long 79 mile run to the Shell Morgan Landing to tie up for the night and then a 56 mile run to Morgan City.  We left Lake Charles in the dark in the early morning with fog.  I sure love my new radar and GPS plotter.  The fog lifted about 9am and and the rest was sit back and take in the scenery.   Soon after we left we went thru our first lock called the Calcasieu Lock.  Basically you drive right thru without stopping. When we passed one of the barges he called us on the radio and said it looks like our dingy was flopping around on the back of the boat.  Jan took the wheel and I went to investigate.  Sure enough the dingy was hanging off the davit on the back.  I had Jan slow down to an idle while I jury rigged a come along to the back of the boat so I could lift it back on to the davit.  What fun!  Our second lock we went thru was called the Leland Bowman Lock.  Another drive thru.  When we got to Shell Moran Landing it was a corrugated steel wall about four feet off the water that can accommodate only a couple of boats. Since we are the only crazy people boating in the winter we had no problem getting a place to stay. We got to listen to the work boat in front of us with his generator running all night and then all the work boats leaving at "O" dark thirty to take the workers to oil platforms throughout the Bayou.   We didn't take pics of this place, I guess we were just too tired and forgot.  In the morning we filled up with fuel at $3.32 per gallon and headed to Morgan City.  We went through our third lock the Bayou Boeuf Lock.  Another drive thru.  We had heard both good and bad about the wall you have to tie up to and weren't sure if we were anxious to find out for ourselves.  Yes, the wall was rustic but we managed to make it through the night without incident except for the occasional rolling from passing boats.  We wish we could have spent more time in some of the cities we stop at, but we really want to get to New Orleans before Christmas.  The main reason we try to tie up is for the power and to let Chloe off to do her duty.  The scenery between Morgan City and Houma was the best so far because of the trees with the moss hanging off.   Not sure if we are going to head to New Orleans tomorrow because of weather but the next day looks good.  We are at nice place here in Houma at the city docks and took a little walk to the bank and store at the Shell station.  If we have to stay here for another day it's not too bad.

Going by Grand Lake
Looks like the Delta
Cable Ferry
Passing on the one.  What you don't see is the tow on the other side going the other way.  I call that a sandwich.

Largest salt mine in LA
Drive thru lock

Morgan City flood wall

At least we had power

Morgan City

This could be yours

Morgan City is all about commercial boating

Looks like this from Morgan City to Houma

Couldn't resist taking this one!

First house you see entering Houma.  Check out the outdoor kitchen on the right
Hello Panacea at the Houma city dock

This one is for you Lu-Lu
I don't know?  This Indian standing in a pool of water holding a fish with no tail